60 Minutes looked at bomb-sniffing dogs in a report that, especially given last night’s other featured stories — on the Marathon bombing and the 9/11 Memorial — brought home not just how many lives they’ve saved in the military overseas, but how many more they might save here.
Reporter Lara Logan focused on the dogs of war, and the trainers that describe their canines as nearly infallible when it comes to detecting bombs.
But they’re not so infallible when explosive devices are planted after the dogs have made their sweeps, as apparently was the case at the Boston Marathon.
“Would an average police dog have found these bombs at the Boston Marathon …?” she asked trainer Mike Ritland.
“…Based on what I do know, yes,” Ritland said. “If dogs went through the areas where they were placed– you know, your average, certified police bomb dog should have found them. My thoughts are if these guys (the suspects) are paying close attention to these dogs, they’re waiting. And when the dogs leave, they bring it in, they hand– they infiltrate, essentially, they drop it right where it’s busy, and very soon after, it detonates.”
As the “60 Minutes” piece pointed out, since 9/11 dogs have been used more than ever because nothing is more effective in finding hidden bombs. Dogs in the employ of the military and FBI have sniffed out bombs, captured enemies, and one assisted Navy SEAL Team 6 when it took down Osama bin Laden. Much more of what they do, given the often secretive nature of their work, never becomes known.
“The best of them serve with U.S. Special Operations and they’re in a league of their own,” Logan noted. “It’s nearly impossible to get anyone to talk about them publicly because much of what they do is classified, but we were able to talk to the people who train them for this story. We took the opportunity to ask about what might have happened in Boston while getting a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of America’s most elite dogs.”
(One member of the “60 Minutes” team — in a segment not shown on the air but featured on 60minutesovertime.com – even volunteered to be chased down by a military dog in training in Texas. Producer Reuben Heyman-Kantor, in the video above, tried to outrun the dog, but was brought down quickly.)
In her interview with former Navy SEAL Ritland, who now finds and trains dogs for Special Operations and top tier units in the FBI, Logan asked, ”What can these dogs do on the streets of America?”
“The very same thing that they do for our boys overseas in that they detect explosives– they are a fantastic deterrent– they use their nose to find, you know, people as well,” Ritland said.
“Everybody knows that dogs can smell better than humans but what they don’t realize is that if you and I walk into the kitchen and there’s a pot of beef stew on the counter, you and I smell beef stew. A dog smells potatoes, carrots, beef, onion, celery, gravy, flour. They smell each and every individual component of everything that’s in that beef stew. And they can separate everyone one of those. You can’t hide anything from them. It won’t work because you can’t fool a dog’s nose.”
Ritland now trains dogs on his 20-acre ranch in rural Cooper, Texas, runs the Warrior Dog Foundation for retired war dogs, and is the author of “Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines.”
Ritland says its important — amid these days of budget cuts — to remember what lifesavers the dogs can be, both in wars and at home.
In Afghanistan, according to the report, 42 dogs have been killed in action. They’ve become so effective that the enemy is singling them out. A Taliban commander told “60 Minutes” that on his last operation they were ordered to open fire on the American dogs first, and deal with the soldiers next.
Logan visited what she said was one of only three breeders in the U.S. who produce dogs — almost always the Belgian Malinois — for top tier military units.
She also interviewed Green Beret Chris Corbin who, along with his dog Ax, almost died on their final mission in Afghanistan.
Corbin said he missed a signal from the dog while searching for mines. Ax was alerting to Corbin’s foot, but Corbin realized it too late. He lost both his lower legs. Ax was not wounded. Both returned to duty.
Ax was at Corbin’s side during the interview, and rarely took his eyes off his former partner as he described their first reunion after the blast.
“I just said something simple. ‘Hey, where’s my boy at?’ and he stopped. He froze. He looked around. And he went into a panic until he found me and he jumped on my legs. Painful. Just– I was just happy to see him. I didn’t care how much it hurt.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 minutes, 911, animals, ax, belgian malinois, bomb, bombing, bombs, boston marathon, budget, chris corbin, cutbacks, detecting, detection, dog, dogs, explosive, fbi, green beret, homeland security, ied, lara logan, law enforcement, mike ritland, military, mines, navy seal, news, nose, pets, searches, security, smell, sniffing, special operations, sweeps, training
A Texas judge ruled yesterday that a dog who was missing her nose when she was found wandering in a field should not be returned to her original owners.
“I find that this dog was unreasonably deprived of care,” Hutto Municipal Judge Lucas Wilson said of the dog, named Victory by her rescuers.
Animal control officers initially believed she’d been the victim of abuse, but Victory’s owners, when they came forward to reclaim the dog, said she suffered from an autoimmune disease that ate her nose away.
The court ruling, which came after a four-hour hearing, means the bearded collie will remain in the care of Austin Pets Alive, which will place her in a new home.
Josh Fogelman, an attorney for the owners, Shawn and Candice Lance, said after the ruling that the owners took good care of the dog, who they called Olive, and never abused her.
“I believe this is a witch hunt,” he said after the ruling. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Fogelman was unsure whether the Lances would appeal the ruling.
Hutto police found the dog wandering in early January and took her to a local veterinarian. She was later placed in foster care by Austin Pets Alive, a local animal welfare organization that raised $15,000 in donations for her. Victory was scheduled to receive a skin graft, but that was canceled when her owners called police in February to reclaim the dog.
Shawn Lance, who recently moved from Amarillo, said he had taken the dog to a veterinarian there three times after her nose started to scar and lose color. The medicine the vet prescribed made the dog sick, though, so he took her off it, he testified.
Lance, a financial adviser for Edward Jones who said he worked for several years as a veterinary technician, testified that he and his wife tried to find the dog after she disappeared by putting up a missing poster at a community mailbox and calling an animal shelter.
He said that the dog lost her nose when he took her to a veterinarian.
No charges were filed against the Lances, but a judge was asked to intervene to determine whether Victory should be returned to them.
Judge Wilson said that Shawn Lance made an unreasonable decision to “wean her off of medication” and said veterinary records don’t indicate the dog, at the time of her last visit, had lost her nose.
“If you look at the veterinary records they say the nose is raw but still there,” he said.
While it’s possible the dog lost her nose to disease, the judge said, evidence indicated the pet was being deprived of proper care.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animals, austin pets alive, autoimmune, bearded collie, care, denied, disease, dog, dogs, hutto, judge, lost, lucas wilson, neglect, no nose, nose, noseless, pets, proper, ruling, suspected, victory
The canine nose got a vote of confidence Tuesday from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The unanimous decision stemmed from a case in Florida in which defense attorneys questioned a drug-sniffing dog’s credentials and reliability, and whether his alert was just cause to search a truck police had stopped.
The court ruled that, in the case of trained and certified dogs, it is — or as Justice Elena Kagan put it: “The sniff is up to snuff.”
Kagan said a dog’s “satisfactory performance” in a certification or training program provided sufficient reason for an officer to trust its alert, even though errors “may abound” when dogs get put to the test in the field.
The justices said that training records had established the reliability of Aldo, a German shepherd, in sniffing out contraband, and that Florida’s Supreme Court erred in suppressing evidence he found in Clayton Harris’ pickup truck — namely, methamphetamine ingredients.
The ruling, Reuters reports, gives law enforcement greater authority to use dogs to uncover illegal drugs.
“The question – similar to every inquiry into probable cause – is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime,” Kagan wrote for the court. “A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test.”
The Harris case is one of two the court is considering about the validity of evidence obtained by drug-sniffing dogs. The second — which the high court has heard, but not decided — involves a police dog named Franky, who alerted while standing on a home’s doorstep, prompting a search that led to the discovery of marijuana growing inside.
In the case decided Tuesday, defense lawyers for Harris challenged the search by Aldo, a police dog in Liberty County, Florida. The officer handling Aldo — because Harris appeared nervous and declined to approve a search of his vehicle — allowed the dog a “free air sniff.”
Based in part on Aldo’s reaction, a full search was conducted.
Harris’ lawyers challenged the search, questioning Aldo’s certification and whether he was reliable in sniffing out drugs.
Florida’s Supreme Court concluded that the state had not sufficiently established how well-trained Aldo was, and it ruled the evidence of the methamphetamine ingredients should not have been admitted.
Kagan wrote that the officer reasonably believed there was contraband inside the truck based on Aldo’s training, and that defense attorneys failed to show that Aldo was unreliable.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldo, animals, certification, detecting, dogs, drug, florida, harris, ingredients, justice elena kagan, K-9, k9, law enforcement, liberty county, methamphetamine, nose, pets, police, reliability, ruling, scent, search, sniffing, supreme court, training, vehicle
After a Valentine’s Day hearing, a Texas judge will decide who should have custody of Victory, a bearded collie who is missing her nose.
Victory was found last month wandering in Hutto, Texas, outside of Austin. Her fur was heavily matted. She’d sustained puncture wounds. And her nose appeared to have been cut off.
Since then, an owner has stepped forward, saying Victory (not her original name) had run off a month earlier, and that the loss of her nose was the result of an autoimmune illness she was being treated for.
After she was found, the 4-year-old dog was treated by a local veterinarian, then placed in a foster home by Austin Pets Alive, which began a fundraising campaign and raised $2,000 for the dog to undergo skin graft surgery on her nose last week.
The surgery was canceled after a man called saying he owned her and wanted her back, said Laura Stromberg Hoke, a spokeswoman for Austin Pets Alive.
A judge will hear the matter Thursday, deciding whether the dog should be returned to her owner or remain with Austin Pets Alive, according to the Austin American-Statesman. No charges have been filed in the case, but police say they “wanted a judge to hear the information they had gathered during the investigation.”
Hutto animal control officers found the dog Jan. 9, and initially suspected she’d been the victim of abuse. The owners of the dog — who authorities refused to name — said she had run away around New Year’s, according to Hutto Police Chief Peter Scheets.
Police say they are still investigating whether the dog lost her nose due to medical neglect or abuse. Veterinary records show that the dog was last treated for lupus nine months ago but had no follow-up treatment, the police chief said.
One type of lupus that occurs in dogs can cause redness, scabs and ulcerations on a dog’s nose.
Scheets said there is also a possibility that the dog was injured after she escaped from her home and before she was discovered by police.
The hearing is open to the public and will be at 4 p.m. Thursday (Feb 14) in Hutto Municipal Court, 401 W. Front St.
You can find an update on this story here.
(Photo: Austin Pets Alive)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, austin, austin pets alive, bearded collie, courts, custody, cut off, disease, dog with no nose, dogs, foster, found, hutto, investigation, lupus, missing, no nose, nose, noseless, owner, pets, texas, victory
And if you think there are only a few people who would find beauty in her unaligned face, think again.
Everyone, it seems, loves Lucy.
Stray from the Heart, a New York City rescue, says it has been inundated with inquiries from people seeking to adopt Lucy, now in a foster home — so many that they’ve removed her profile from their website as they sort through applicants.
Lucy was beaten by her former owner so badly that her nose and jaw were broken, according to Stray from the Heart. Both have healed, but they never set properly, leaving her jaw and snout slightly askew.
Her abuser also pulled out some of her teeth, to keep her from fighting with the many male dogs she was bred with.
Somehow, she escaped and was found living on the streets, alone, emaciated and pregnant. She was picked by a good samaritan and taken to a veterinarian who discovered her uterus was twisted. The vet had to decided between saving the mother or the babies, and opted to save Lucy, Stray from the Heart says.
It was believed to have been the three-and-a-half-year-old dog’s fifth or sixth pregnancy.
After a few months in foster care in Bogota, Lucy was brought to the U.S., and was boarded in Connecticut until foster care could be secured.
Stray from the Heart is now picking a permanent home from the many applicants who got in touch after her photos appeared on the rescue’s website and Facebook page.
(Photos: From the Facebook page of Stray from the Heart)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, adopters, adoption, adoptive, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, beaten, bogota, breeding, broken, crooked, cruelty to animals, dog, dogfighting, dogs, face, foster, home, interest, jaw, lucy, nose, pets, pit bulls, rescue, shelters, snout, south america, stray from the heart
Bulldogs, pugs, and other short-of-snout breeds accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data shows.
Overall, 122 dog deaths — 108 of them purebreds — were reported between May 2005, when U.S. airlines were required to start disclosing them, and May 2010, the Transportation Department says.
All the dogs died while being shipped as cargo, as opposed to flying in the cabin.
English bulldogs accounted for the highest number, with 25 deaths. Second highest were pugs, 11 of which died. Seven golden retrievers, six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers died while flying as cargo in that period. And boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians accounted for two deaths each.
You can see the full list here.
The Department of Transportation says dog owners should consult with veterinarians before putting their dogs on planes. It believes that the deaths represent a tiny percentage of the pets shipped on airlines.
Short-nose breeds — known as “brachycephalic” — in addition to being less tolerant of heat, have a skull formation that affects their airways, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee, told the Associated Press.
“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration, either just panting or the action of breathing in or out, is a method of heat exchange for them,” Bandy said. “A dog that has a long snout or a long muzzle has more surface area within its nasal cavity for that heat exchange to take place. So breeds like labradors or collies or those types of dogs with the long muzzles have a more efficient cooling system.”
Bandy said that in addition to trying to cool themselves, dogs may also pant excessively in the cargo hold because of stress or excitement. But he believes dogs shouldn’t be given tranquilizers before flying because that makes them less able to manage their own cooling process. In addition, airlines generally do not want pets tranquilized, he added.
In all, 144 pet deaths were reported by airlines over the past five years, along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airline, animals, boxers, bulldogs, cargo, deaths, dog, dogs, federal, flight, flights, flying, government, health, length, news, nose, pekingese, pets, pugs, purebred, risk, safety, short, snout, transportation, travel
What would you name a dachshund, born deaf and blind, who counts on his nose to show him the way?
To Marcia Fishman, the answer was obvious: Rudolph.
After bouncing between four other homes, Rudolph was adopted by Fishman two years ago, and he’s gone on to become a visitor to elementary schools, and the subject of a children’s book.
“Rudolph’s Nose Knows,” written by Fishman, is about a blind and deaf dog teased by other dogs because he bumps into things. When he turns out to be the only one able to rescue a bird stuck in a hole, he becomes a hero.
As a team, Rudolph and Fishman visit schools around Detroit to help show kids that disabilities are surmountable, and that teasing — whether over a red nose or some other physical challenge – is a painful and misguided waste of time. Fishman hopes that Rudolph, the dachshund, can help teach children to accept others who might appear different from themselves.
Last week, they dropped in on more than 60 third-graders at McIntrye Elementary School in Southfield, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Shut your eyes and hold your ears as tight as possible,” Fishman told the students. “Don’t feel sorry for Rudolph, he is a happy dog. But I want you to understand what he experiences every day of his life.”
Though he can’t hear or see, Rudolph is helping to instill compassion and acceptance in the children, Fishman said. ”He’s spreading a great message. I will never forget what one child said to me last year, after he hugged Rudolph– ‘I am going to tell my mommy that I want a deaf and blind dog, too.’ “
Posted by jwoestendiek November 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: blind, book, books, books on dogs, compassion, dachshund, deaf, detroit, disabilities, dog, dog books, marcia fishman, nose, red-nosed, reindeer, rudolph, rudolph's nose knows, schools, teasing
We’re not taking credit (or blame) for these, just passing them along, as they were passed along to us — the top 10 Pet Peeves of Dogs:
1. Blaming your farts on me … Not funny … Not funny at all.
2. Yelling at me for barking. I’M A DAMN DOG.
3.Taking me for a walk, then not letting me check stuff out. Exactly whose walk is this anyway?
4. Any trick that involves balancing food on my nose. Stop it!
5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you’re not home.
6. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! Woo hooo! What a proud moment for the top of the food chain.
7. Taking me to the vet for ‘the big snip’, then acting surprised when I freak out every time we go back!
8. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but I haven’t quite mastered that handshake thing yet.
9.Dog sweaters. Hello??? Haven’t you noticed the fur?
10.How you act disgusted when I lick myself. Look, we both know the truth. You’re just jealous.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: barking, behavior, dogs, fake fetch, fart, food, haircut, humor, lick, list, nose, peeves, pet, pet peeves, sniff, sweaters, top ten, walks
With evidence both anecdotal and scientific showing dogs have the potential to sniff out diabetes — or at least detect the changes that occur when a person is about to have a hypoglycemic attack — a research center in southern England is training dogs to warn diabetic owners when their blood sugar levels fall to dangerously low levels.
As this 2007 video shows, some dogs already have the skill down, but the Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs research center in Aylesbury, based on recent evidence suggesting a dog’s hyper-sensitive nose can detect impending attacks, is now working to train 17 dogs that will be paired up with diabetic owners.
A survey last December by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast found 65 percent of 212 people with insulin-dependent diabetes reported that their pets had reacted by whining, barking, licking or some other display when they had a hypoglycemic episode, according to Reuters.
“Dogs have been trained to detect certain odors down to parts per trillion, so we are talking tiny, tiny amounts. Their world is really very different to ours,” research center Chief Executive Claire Guest said.
The center is continuing work to perfect dogs’ ability in spotting signs of cancer. Guest said having a dog in every doctor’s office would be impractical, but the research could help lead to the invention of an electronic nose that will mimic a dog’s.
“At the moment electronic noses are not as advanced as the dogs’, they are about 15 years behind. But the work that we are doing and what we are finding out will help scientists advance quickly so that they can use electronic noses to do the same thing,” she said.
Pretty amazing stuff, but I think I’d rather be diagnosed by a dog than an electronic nose. And what’s so impractical about a dog in every doctor’s office? Seems entirely practical to me, and a good way — if shelter dogs could be trained to sniff out disease — to allow everyone to live a little longer.
Besides, it would make doctors’ offices far more inviting, and give us something to do in the waiting room.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: cancer, detecting, diabetes, diagnosis, disease, doctor, doctors, dog, dogs, electronic nose, medical, nose, offices, ohmidog!, research, screening, sniff, sniffing, video